Monday, March 12, 2012
Watch Where You Step!
The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
There's a Texas tale about the rattlesnake that goes something like this: A Texas cowboy, with a very fine pair of embroidered and silvered boots, was bitten by a rattlesnake when courting a lovely young frontier damsel. He dies and leaves the treasured boots to a friend who then falls in love with the same girl. One day, he pulled on the beautiful boots in order to impress her. He immediately sickens and falls dead, leaving the boots, yet again, to a third cowboy. In time, this fellow also falls for the young girl and decides to wear the ill-fated boots to go courting. The end result is the same, the cowboy falls over dead. Just as folks begin to suspect the girl of being a femme fatale, having some strange deadly effect on her suitors, it's discovered that in one of the boots there's a rattlesnake fang still embedded inside.
The fear of the rattler is understandable and expected. You'd how to be a fool to not show any respect toward this reptile. Heck, it even gives you advanced warning when you go poking around its homestead. It's said that the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake accounts for the most fatalities in North America. Another interesting tidbit of trivia is that this snake isn’t an endangered species. In fact, if the rattler's fang is detached or broken off from its mouth, it's still DANGEROUS. Don't go near it or poking around it! Yeah, I'm talking to my redneck brethren out there.
The venom is primarily hemotoxic, which means that it mainly affects blood vessels, blood cells and the heart. The venom is a digestive aid for the snake, tends to liquify and breakdown the complex protein structures of the animal it engorged. With digestive juices like that, who needs venom?!
Some symptoms of a rattlesnake bige include excessive bleeding, tissue necrosis (the affected area blackens & dies), swelling, edema and intense pain.
To illustrate the last point, I've added a picture of someone with a snakebite to the foot.
Oh, there are worse pictures, but I chose this mild one because of the women and chilluns who might come across this blog.
So, please be careful where step, so to speak. They could be found almost anywhere: under rocks, in brush, abandoned cars, cozying up around the garden hose (really!), in the dog house (which would explain Fido's exaggerated fear of enclosed spaces) along with other uncommon places, including your local honky-tonk (okay, now I'm writing about another kind of snake).
Don't say I didn't warn you!